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Discussion Starter #1
We have a 2 family house with family in the upstairs apartment. We have been having a strange electrical issue we cant figuye out. The upstairs apartment lights have been dimming on a regular basis. Seems to be hapening about every hour and lasts from 1 to 3 minuits with the dimming about everey 5 to 10 seconds. When the dimming happens there is a hum in the meters.. Hum feels stronger in our meter for downstairs. But the drain is happening upstairs. We have replaced the breakers for the ac for both apartments...didnt help. Electrician sugested it could be a loose or coroded neutral or meter socket.. We have had the utility company come & re-do the netural at the house & the pole as well as the next dor neighbors neutral just to be safe. He said they where pretty bad. ?Sadly...Didnt fix the issue...next was the meters. He said we have a good 240 coming in..but alas the issue was not happening when he was there making troubleshooting nearly imposible.. They replaced the meters..and Its still happening. We are at a complete loss.. What do we do next! There is a bridal outside connecting my house & the neighbors to the poll. (so the one poll is supplying both houses - a total of 5 units between the 2 houses) the tech doing the meters asked if they where running excessive appliances.. But we have no idea of that.. The upstairs just had a new pannel installed & new pot lights installed about 6 months ago. Our apartment downstairs had all new wiring & a new panel installed 2 years ago. This issue has been happening for about 2 months now..they said upstairs that it was very mild when it started but has gotten worse the last 2 weeks. They just told me about it 5 days ago...so yea..5 days now dealing with trying to ferret this issue out. utility company has been here twice now.. & still no luck resolving this. I want this fixed asap.. We have had one housefire already (4 years ago).. Now, with this electrical issue.. Im terified of it causing a fire.. Granted I may just be parinoid & assuming the worst because of my past.. But this is really starting to freak me out. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.
 

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Naildriver
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Some of the terminology you use indicates you are not located in the US. Can you tell us where it is located. That way we will know how to attack your problem.
 

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Are there two separate meter for the apartments or one for both.
Where is the feed for problem apartment? A separate meter or a breaker in your main panel.

When the light start dimming they should try turning off some of the breakers and see if one of them makes the hum go away and the dimming stop.

It could be something like a stuck motor that overloading and tripping out its internal breaker. This motor could be a sump pump, an attic fan or something else that runs intermittently.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Some of the terminology you use indicates you are not located in the US. Can you tell us where it is located. That way we will know how to attack your problem.
LOL... HMM not sure what terminology your referring to... I'm actually in the US in NJ...:smile:

strangely, it doesn't seem to be correlating with any of the appliances in the home 100%. The AC was the first thought we had. But It seems to happen despite having either AC on or off. We did change the AC breakers both inside & outside. At one point it seemed to stop when I turned off my AC unit the one time, But then they said it was happening again & my AC was still switched off. HMMMMM???? Similar situation with the upstairs AC... At one point, they switched on their AC & within 5 min, the dimming started. they then turned off the breakers to the AC & while the barkers where off... it happens again.. It does not affect our apartment electrical at all. we have no dimming or anything. Also, its happening so randomly that we just cant seem to figure it out. when it does happen, it comes in bunches over the coarse of a couple hours, a couple times every hour and lasts from 1 to 3 min. with the dimming about every 5 to 10 seconds. When the dimming happens there is a hum in the meters. The electrician they had come upstairs was the one who suggested it being an issue with the neutral or a meter socket & to contact PSE&G (our utility co) right away, which is why we had the utility company come & change the meters & do the neutrals outside the house & at the poll. sadly no change..

I'm thinking of going back to the AC theory & replace the Capacitors for both AC units.... Just in case one of them is on its way out. I mean.. it cant hurt...whats the worst it can do... make the AC run better... lol

I'm also wondering if it could somehow be in one of the main breakers to each apt or even maybe the main itself.. which would suck because that would mean getting the utility company back out here again...

Another concern I have is the new breaker panel box & pot lights they put upstairs. Wondering if something might be amiss there with that. It just drives me nuts that its happening throughout their entire apartment & not just one or 2 rooms... and there is nothing at all happening in our apartment downstairs and we just cant find the cause

I know I'm kinda grasping at straws here, but I'm out of ideas & have had multiple people here to do repairs already.
Thus my conundrum!!! lol
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Are there two separate meter for the apartments or one for both.
Where is the feed for problem apartment? A separate meter or a breaker in your main panel.

When the light start dimming they should try turning off some of the breakers and see if one of them makes the hum go away and the dimming stop.

It could be something like a stuck motor that overloading and tripping out its internal breaker. This motor could be a sump pump, an attic fan or something else that runs intermittently.
Yes there are 2 separate meters
The electric comes into the main breaker box then separates to the 2 meters with a main breaker for each apartment & each apartment has its own breaker panel box in the apartment.

I will suggest the idea of turning off each breaker up there one at a time when its happening to see if that provides any further clues. that's a good idea & something i didnt even think about. thanks:smile:
 

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first you need to establish a pattern to the fault,
Once you have an idea when it is likely to happen
you need to check monitor voltages to get an idea
where the problem lies.
Go to the panel for upstairs
check / read the voltage on the main breaker/switch
what does it read normal or low ?

depending on these results
you go upstream or downstream.

one step at a time !
:vs_bulb:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
first you need to establish a pattern to the fault,
Once you have an idea when it is likely to happen
you need to check monitor voltages to get an idea
where the problem lies.
Go to the panel for upstairs
check / read the voltage on the main breaker/switch
what does it read normal or low ?

depending on these results
you go upstream or downstream.

one step at a time !
:vs_bulb:
Hazzah!!! Thant sounds like a great plan of attack. I was feeling like I was up against a wall there, thank you for providing me with a door to step through. I will start fresh in the morning & see if we can determine if we should be going either up or down stream from the main panel... At least then I will have a direction to work back from. I greatly appreciate the advice.
 

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If you have a meter with a spinning wheel you can check that as well to see how fast it is going. We have the new smart meters here so it is not as easy. The wheel is a digital display of dashes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If you have a meter with a spinning wheel you can check that as well to see how fast it is going. We have the new smart meters here so it is not as easy. The wheel is a digital display of dashes.
Thanks.. Unfortunately we just had the new remote read meters put in because PSE&G refused/where to lazy to stop & knock on the door to get into the basement to take an actual meter reading (in 3 years we had 32 estimated readings.. f'ed up right...) So yea, we have the new smart meters.

At the moment we are going to start fresh at the breaker panel box upstairs & test it to try to determine if the drain is coming form upstream or down stream & go from there. Since we already had the neutrals repairs done outside & the meters where changed out yesterday, we have eliminated those issues from the equitation. Hopefully, we will be able to ferret out the issue that is causing the drain by tracing the problem backwards..
 

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Doozer
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Lights dimming and humming sounds doesn't seem like breakers to me.

The fact that the lights are dimming in the upstairs apartment and not downstairs, should pretty well rule out supply lines to the house and anything else they have in common.

It sounds like something is placing a heavy load on the system. High current will pull down the supply voltage and lights will dim. It is most likely a motor trying to start up. You said it happened when A/C breaker was off. What about the refrigerator? It's got a motor that will cycle off and on throughout the day. It may have a bad starting cap or a shorted winding. Or the compressor may be starting to seize up, placing a really high load on the motor and causing a really high startup current.
 

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I'm not saying it is the breaker. I saying you can determine which circuit is causing the high current draw and the voltage drop. Then you can investigate that circuit for a defective device.
 
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